(02/25/13) - The Michigan State Police is investigating attempted sales of fake silver and gold bullion in the Mid-Michigan area.
It looks like silver, it feels like silver, but a Bay City coin and jewelry collector says he is seeing more and more fake silver in his store.
"It's good enough to fool just about anybody, unless you test it," said John DeJohn, who's owned Columbus Coin and Jewelry in Bay City for more than three decades.
DeJohn says over the last several weeks, he has noticed more fake silver coins and bars coming into his store. The people attempting to sell them may know they are counterfeit, or they may have recently purchased the bars or coins, thinking they are real, when in fact, they are fake.
"What he have in our area is a lot of Chinese counterfeits," DeJohn said.
It was two years ago when The Global Piracy and Counterfeiting Consultants warned investors that the gold and silver markets were being flooded with counterfeits from China, and DeJohn says he is seeing plenty of the fake coins and bars lately, especially silver. Precious metals have become popular alternative investments over the past few years.
DeJohn said the company whose name is on one of the silver bars is a good company, but DeJohn suspected it could be fake.
"We cut this and put a little nitric acid and you can see the copper underneath it," he said.
Someone was trying to sell about 150 one ounce Troy silver bars. DeJohn would pay about $30 for one of them, meaning he would have been out a few thousand dollars. DeJohn is worried that people looking to invest money will buy fakes, and recommends purchasing silver and gold from a reputable dealer.
"I would look for people that have been in business for awhile," he said. "To invest in gold and silver and have it come out as fake, and be hoodwinked like that, it's a crime."
That's why the Michigan State Police is investigating and the United State Secret Service is also looking into the counterfeits.
ABC12 Main Station